You’ve checked Facebook for the 400th time today, you’re cross-eyed with boredom, and if you’d rather slam your tongue in the photocopier than listen to another one of Dave’s golf anecdotes. Yes folks, it’s Friday. The end of the week is nigh, and as you’ll now have come to appreciate, that means it’s five-a-side time! Feast your eyes on some of the latest kit to land at BikeRadar headquarters…
New road cycling gear
Bianchi Oltre XR2
Bianchi oltre xr2:Oli Woodman / Immediate Media
We’re in the build-up to the Tour de France at BikeRadar, so that means we’ve got some lovely pro-worthy kit kicking around the office. The 6.73kg Oltre XR2, as ridden by Team LottoNL-Jumbo, is a no-expense spared superbike, specced to the nines with Shimano Dura–Ace Di2. It’s even got satellite sprint shifters on the drops, not to mention a tasty Dura-Ace C50 tubular wheelset. How much, we hear you ask? Brace yourselves…
£10,000 (Yes, TEN THOUSAND) / US$LOTS / AU$EVEN MORE
Castelli women’s kit: castelli women’s kitMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
When a box of Castelli kit lands at BikeRadar the vultures immediately begin circling, and keeping them at bay can be a full-time job. This year’s women’s kit is as nice as ever: the lightweight Climber’s Jersey is a close-fitting top, which incorporates a sort of baselayer on the front meaning ladies can unzip for extra ventilation without compromise to their dignity.The Free Aero bib shorts are ultra-light too, and have nice wide grippers that shouldn’t chafe, as well as a little reflective detailing. If you want to go the whole hog, the Promessa socks should be perfect for properly hot days. It’s worth noting, by the way, that you can – thankfully – have this kit in hues other than pink should you so desire.
With the rise and rise of discs, it’s quite possible that low-profile carbon clinchers for rim brakes are an endangered species. For the moment though, new designs are appearing all the time. The 28mm deep Mon Chasserals from DT Swiss are about as extreme as they come, with our set weighing in at just 1272g including rim tape. BikeRadar USA beat us with the scoop on this one, but we’re excited to have got hold of a set of our own to play with – DT’s hub reliability is legendary and with a claimed improvement in braking temperature management, these look like an appealing (if expensive) prospect.
Brand x carbon road bars: brand x carbon road barsOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Nobody needs carbon bars per se, but there’s no denying they look great, and they can knock a handy number of grams off your bike. This affordable offering from the enigmatically-named Brand-X comes in three widths, with our 41cm set weighing a very reasonable 225g. Better yet, they use a compact ergo drop shape (80mm reach, 125mm drop) that suits us perfectly, and they’re swept back three degrees which should make holding onto the tops more comfortable.
You thought we were done with carbon? Think again! Our second set of carbon clinchers comes from Edco, the Swiss company with a history doing things its own way. The Furkas are actually built with 58mm rims from Reynolds, and as such they feature the same distinctive section as the Reynolds 58 Aero: it’s 26.2mm wide, but unlike many current rims it’s quite pointy. Despite this, Edco (or rather, Reynolds) claims superior crosswind performance, something we’re keen to put to the test. With hubs built by Edco itself, the wheels weigh in at 1712g for the set including rim tape. Unusually, their freehub is compatible with Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo cassettes without the need to switch parts.
Specialized stumpjumper: specialized stumpjumperOli Woodman / Immediate Media
The Stumpjumper FSR needs little introduction (suffice to say it’s capable of handling far more than the average rider can throw at it). This build, with a mixture of 10-speed Shimano and SRAM bits, a Revelation up front and a custom Fox rear shock will do the business, but more importantly, look at the freaking door in the down tube!
SWAT: swatOli Woodman / Immediate Media
The SWAT Door is one of those features you’re going to wish all your bikes had, as it gives you a (supposedly) rattle-free way to carry a tube, multitool and pump everywhere you ride without mucking up the lines of your lovely bike. It would be interesting to know exactly how much weight one of these adds to a frame, but in any case we like it a lot.
Loose riders global alliance jersey: loose riders global alliance jerseyMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
If you’re the sort whose relationship with whips is strictly family-friendly, this top from Loose Riders Global Alliance might be just the ticket. With a fit like a normal T-shirt, it will look as strong at the après-gnar as it does when you’re hurtling headlong through a forest.
Bliss 1.0 ld top: bliss 1.0 ld topMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
In a similar vein, but perhaps even better suited to those who regularly place themselves in peril, this top from Bliss combines protective shock absorbing sections with a close-fitting base layer, giving you protection that won’t move around in extremis. Better yet, if you wear it without an outer layer you can pretend you’re a player in some sort of futuristic wrestling tournament.
Roadies aren’t the only ones pathetically in awe of carbon – there’s just no escaping its blingy charms. The Warhead bar weighs 242g, measures a sensible 760mm and feels as tough as the brand name implies. A rough section where the stem clamps ensures a secure fit on your bike.
Lazer magma helmet: lazer magma helmetOli Woodman / Immediate Media
Belgian manufacturer Lazer may be better known in the road world, but the company produces a full line-up of MTB helmets too. The Magma looks like a solid entry in the XC/trail arena, weighing in at 332g for a large and incorporating a decent amount of venting for its price, as well as Lazer’s trademark Rollsys adjustment system with which we’ve always got on well.